2019 in Kdrama: The Poll Results

The Best

Sky Castle was 2019’s best drama, but it was Be Melodramatic’s year.

That’s the conclusion from a poll of 100 drama watchers (79 for the second poll) on the best and worst in Korean dramas this year.

Screen Shot 2019-12-28 at 10.46.22 am.png
Sky Castle was a dark and challenging indictment of South Korea’s education system

While the brilliant, darkly-funny satire Sky Castle was resoundingly voted Best Drama of 2019 with 18% of the vote, Be Melodramatic was voted Favourite Drama and was also voted The One That Made You Cry the Most (20%) and The One With the Best Ensemble Cast (29%). 

It seems that while people appreciated how good the blistering satire on South Korea’s obsession with educational attainment was, they didn’t necessarily enjoy it as much as some other shows: especially the very low-rated cult hit about a rookie screenwriter.

Like last year’s surprise critics’ hit, I’m Not a Robot, Be Melodramatic’s average rating of 1.5% did nothing to dissuade its devoted fans. Also ignoring low ratings of around 3% are the fans of the whacky Pegasus Market, who voted the show Most Underrated for 2019, very closely followed by the chilling, perfectly-plotted Children of Nobody that wowed its (small number of) viewers early in the year.

In fact, fans of Pegasus Market propelled the show into number three on the list of The One That Made You Laugh the Most (9%) despite not being an option in the original poll.

Even with the huge number of write-in ballots for Pegasus Market, My Fellow Citizens, was still the One That Made You Laugh the Most (22%), although Extraordinary You (19%) was close behind.

Screen Shot 2019-12-28 at 10.32.29 am
My Fellow Citizen’s Park Hoo-ja also won Best Villain 

Rather surprisingly given the criticism of the main relationship in Search Query:WWW (15%), it won Best Romance with the office drama The Secret Life of my Secretary (13%) not far behind. It’s possible both results were driven by votes on the second romances, which just goes to show that poll questions need to be less ambiguous.

Screen Shot 2019-12-28 at 10.39.20 am.png

The Worst

If the result of the Best Drama award was clear, it was even more so for the worst. Ji Chang-wook’s universally-panned comeback drama Melting Me Softly got a whopping 46% of the vote for Worst Drama, with Abyss, Arthdal Chronicles and Absolute Boyfriend trailing in at joint second with only 8% each. 

Melting Me Softly also got Best Fan Wall Meltdown (16%) and scored big in Worst Romance (20%), coming second only to the Memories of the Alhambra (23%) and its crying pot plant.

Dehydration was the biggest threat in Memories of the Alhambra

However, the ‘universally-panned’ component precluded it from the Most Overrated category. Instead, the Games of Thrones-esque, fantasy Arthdal Chronicles made it across the line, with the Noona romance Encounter/Boyfriend very close behind.

I guess divorce is hard on everybody.

The Most Important Award

It was a difficult decision we forced you to make but you made it.

I can finally reveal that the Secret Life of my Secretary won the inaugural award for Best Fish with over 50% of the vote. I suspect at least some of these votes are for the moss balls but, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I will allow it.

Screen Shot 2019-12-28 at 10.35.46 am
The suspicious moss balls in Secret Life of my Secretary

The Results

Best Drama

Sky Castle

Author’s Pick: Sky Castle

Favourite Drama

Be Melodramatic

Author’s Pick: My Strange Hero

Worst Show

Melting Me Softly

Author’s Pick: Melting Me Softly

Most Underrated

Pegasus Market

Special Mention: Children of Nobody

Author’s Pick: My Fellow Citizens

Most Overrated

Arthdal Chronicles

Special Mention: Encounter/Boyfriend

Author’s Pick: Romance is a Bonus Book

The One That Made You Laugh The Most

My Fellow Citizens

Author’s Pick: My Fellow Citizens

The One That Made You Cry The Most

Be Melodramatic

Author’s Pick: The Light In Your Eyes

The One With the Best Villain 

My Fellow Citizens

Author’s Pick: My Fellow Citizens

The One With the Best Romance

Search Query: WWW

Author’s Pick: My Strange Hero

The One With the Best Ensemble Cast

Be Melodramatic

Author’s Pick: Tale of Nokdu

The One With the Best Breakout Performance

Lee Jae-wook (Search Query: WWW)

Author’s Pick: Shin Hye-sun (Angel’s Last Mission)

The One With the Worst Ending

Memories of the Alhambra

Author’s Pick: Vagabond

The One With the Best Fan Wall Meltdown

Melting Me Softly

Author’s Pick: Arthdal Chronicles

The One With the Worst Romance

Memories of the Alhambra

Author’s Pick: Secret Life of my Secretary

The One with the Best Fish

Secret Life of my Secretary

Author’s Pick: Graceful Family

Screen Shot 2019-12-28 at 10.29.21 am
The Year of the Fish Death



4 thoughts on “2019 in Kdrama: The Poll Results

  1. I still can’t believe that Graceful Family didn’t win Best Fish. Picasso ate gold and got a state funeral. You can’t tell me that’s a second place fish.


  2. Picasso should have won best fish!!!! He was robbed! Can we have a Joint Best Fish?
    I don’t think Search Query:WWW should win best romance considering Ta-mi and Mo-gun were awful together.
    But Hoo-ja was amazing as the villain for My Fellow Citizens, I couldn’t help but root for her.

    Thanks for the poll 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Didn’t see Secret Life of My Secretary, but am familiar with Picasso. He should’ve at least tied for best fish! 😀 I also strongly suspect the best romance in WWW was for Cha Hyun and Ji Hwan’s loveline. That was super cute! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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